On the Fourth of July, we celebrate American independence from a distant tyrannical king in 1776. But it wasn’t just a break from, it was a break to — to the beautiful freedoms encompassed in the First Amendment and supported throughout the Constitution, a break unheard of in history but one heard around the world.
As we stand 242 years later, it is not hyperbole to say that those beautiful essential freedoms are under attack perhaps like never before, because now the attack is on whether they are even proper and right — heretofore the American assumption. The two bedrocks underscoring our liberties are freedom of religion and freedom of speech, the first two in the First Amendment. They are supported by the concept of equally applied law and order. There has been a chipping away at those from college campuses to judicial opinions to state and federal laws.
But something different is happening now, at this moment, in real time: Ideas and actions fiercely antithetical to these essential American liberties are popping into the mainstream, winning some elections, and one of the two major political parties in the country is rapidly embracing the destructive ideas and actions. This is complicated by an untrustworthy media that leaves Americans increasingly in different information camps.
The good news is that, at this moment, on this particularly Fourth of July, it does not appear a majority of the American people are embracing this counter-American Revolution. And it may backfire on the Democratic Party that is accepting it — at least in the short term. The problem is the trend, and the speed at which this change is occurring, and thinking it will go away on its own is akin to thinking the British would have just left on their own. Trends such as this will gain momentum and adherents unless they are pushed back against, fought — beautiful ideas fighting ugly ideas.
And this is the call of our day to all freedom-loving Americans. We follow in the steps of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, every signatory to the Declaration of Independence, every debater of the Constitution, every Minuteman and Colonial soldier in the field of battle. These were all willing to sacrifice their lives, their fortunes and their futures for the essential liberties that generations of Americans — including millions upon millions of future immigrants — would thrive under for nearly two and a half centuries.
Those who believe it is right for people to be forced by government to create products for what violates their religion, must be defeated. Those who believe that access to free contraceptives is not only a right but more important than the religious liberties of those who do not want to provide those, must be defeated. Freedom of religion must be defended.
Those who would force people through coercion to say what they do not believe, and who would deny freedom of speech to those they disagree with, must be defeated. Those who would deny any speech that offends or hurts the feelings of someone else, must be defeated. Freedom of speech must be defended.
We must keep the wall of tyranny far on the other side of the beautiful freedoms. Ugly speech by Nazis, Fascists, Communists, racists, white supremacists, black supremacists, anti-Semites, fake news providers, and the rest must be protected by the beautiful freedoms. As long as the worst and most hateful speech is protected, then we know that all speech is secured.
Growing parts of the country, including those dominating higher education, would seek to block all of what they determine to be ugly speech. No. There is no place to stop. It’s all free with the few exceptions for incitement to riot (and those very cautiously) or its not free at all.
We free Americans, who know history and understand the world, have a duty on this Fourth of July to not just remember and celebrate, but to be redouble our vigilance on behalf of the beautiful freedoms. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the founding fathers and our following forefathers who protected freedoms with pen and paper, soapbox, microphone and ballot box and, when necessary on the fields of Gettysburg, the trenches of France, the shores of Normandy and Iwo Jima, the mountains of Korea, the jungles of Vietnam and the sands of Iraq.
We can do no less.
Rod Thomson is an author, former journalist and current TV talking head, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.